How Plants Can Improve Your Work Life from Natural Blaze
A study out of the University of Hyogo in Awaji, Japan, details the stress-reducing benefits to office workers that even a small plant situated within easy viewing can impart.
Masahiro Toyoda, Yuko Yokota, Marni Barnes, and Midori Kaneko explored the practical use of indoor plants to boost mental health among employees typically removed from exposure to healthy green environments.
Their findings are illustrated in their article “Potential of a Small Indoor Plant on the Desk for Reducing Office Workers’ Stress” published in the open access journal Hort Technology, by the American Society for Horticultural Science.
In modern society, stress reduction in the workplace is a pressing issue. While it has been commonly assumed that plant life is soothing to those required to regularly face stressful or mundane situations, this study scientifically verifies the degree of psychological and physiological impact induced by indoor plants. Rather than conducting experiments in a laboratory setting, the researchers calculated stress reduction on employees in real office settings.
Toyoda adds, “At present, not so many people fully understand and utilize the benefit of stress recovery brought by plants in the workplace. To ameliorate such situations, we decided it essential to verify and provide scientific evidence for the stress restorative effect by nearby plants in a real office setting.”
Toyoda and his team investigated changes in psychological and physiological stress before and after placing a plant on the workers’ desks. Sixty-three office workers in Japan were the participants of this study. The participants were directed to take a 3-minute rest while sitting at their desks when they felt fatigue.
There were two phases of the study: a control period without plants and an intervention period when the participants were able to see and care for a small plant. The researchers measured psychological stress in the participants using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. The ratio of the participants whose pulse rate lowered significantly after a 3-minute rest with interaction with their desk plant proved definitive.